Date:Thursday October 6 2011
There are a few glaring weaknesses in how Wenger runs the club that I don`t think a lot of us would deny.
1) Giving too much time for players to prove themselves. Whilst we have produced a lot of world class players with this philosophy, it has also hindered us from achieving our real potential. For example playing the likes of Vieira, Bergkamp, Henry et c., with Stepanov, Cygan, et c. Playing RvP, Fab & Nasri with Senderos, Almunia, Denilson, Diaby. These flops were given the luxury of at least 2 seasons to prove how bad they were when they would not even be given 2 games in other top clubs.
2) Not attacking the opponent's weaknesses and not protecting our own weaknesses. We rarely change a game plan to take advantage of the opponent's weakness. Fat Sam attacked Fabianski with aerial challenges when he identified the keeper as the team's weakest link. Many teams attacked us with long balls to the flank when they know our fullbacks are always in the other half. Of course, our weakness in defending set pieces is legendary and well exploited. Mourinho once commented that playing us was easy because the game plan never changed no matter who played. He never lost a game against Wenger. These weaknesses were identified more than 6-7 years ago and they are still plaguing the team. If you could not right a wrong in more than 300 games, there must be some serious problems.
3) Wages equality policy. Until Citeh came into picture, our total wages were very close to ManU & Chelsea when Fab was still on 80k and RvP 60k. Considering Rooney, Ronaldo, Lampard, Terry etc were earning more than 130k then, it shows how flawed our policy was - and still is.
4) Not considering the players' ability in a tactical game plan. Diaby as a left winger, Walcott as right winger, Denilson as defensive midfielder and Jenkinson as wingback? Even Djourou came in as wingback on the right against Blackburn if memory serves me right. Need I say more?
5) Haggling for pennies. In the past we lost C. Ronaldo when he indicated he wanted to play for us as his idol was Henry then. We refused to pay for him. In recent years, there were countless players that we lost just because we refused to pay another million or 2.
6) Renewing contracts too late. It has to do with the stingy nature of how the club is run. Clubs commonly sign players for 4 years and renew every 2. We do not start serious negotiation until the 3rd year just to save on the signing on fees I suppose. As the contracts run nearer to expiry, the players' bargaining power increases and we have to pay more ultimately. Nevertheless, in most cases, we did not end up paying more because we either lose them on a Bosman (Edu & Flamini) or we were forced to sell on cheap - classic example of being penny wise pound foolish.
7) Not doing the math. We paid about £13m for Nasri. He was here for 3 seasons, playing no more than 30 games per season or about 50% of the total fixtures. (Author's correction: * Nasri did play more than 30 games per season in total. Nevertheless we did lose him for many games in the 3 years) He was paid about 60k (more than £9 mil over 3 years). Adding the signing on fees, he cost us about £25m to make him the star he is today and Citeh paid us just that. Same applied to Adebayor and Fab. We are not getting a good deal in the end because for every good player, we have produced at least 3 Denilsons, Senderos' and Diabies.
Date:Thursday October 6 2011
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